Having just survived a bitterly-contested vote over Scottish independence, Britain is now plunging headlong into yet another identity crisis. This one is called, “English Votes for English Laws”—EVEL for short.Read More
Author Archives: Hal Gordon
I watched the video of President Obama saluting his Marine escort with a coffee cup in his right hand. Then I watched it again. And again.Read More »
In 1707, when the Scottish parliament voted to dissolve itself and send representatives to the parliament in London, the Speaker of the English House of Commons exulted, “We have catch’d Scotland and will bind her fast.”
That boast held true for over three hundred years. But on September 18, the people of Scotland will have the chance to vote on whether they wish to remain “catch’d” or to recover their independence.Read More »
Last Sunday, as I was reading the New York Times, I came across an opinion piece by writer Kevin Fedarko called, “A Cathedral Under Siege.” It was about two proposed developments that threaten the integrity and the beauty of America’s Grand Canyon.
One of these developments is the erection of 2,200 homes and an accompanying three million square feet of shops, hotels and other tourist attractions on the South Rim plateau, less than two miles from the park’s entrance. This development, which has been approved by the local community of Tusayan, will tap into the aquifer that feeds many of the springs deep inside the canyon.Read More »
All kinds of questions are being asked about what will happen if Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom on September 18. How will the national debt and the North Sea oil and gas reserves be divided? What about fishing rights? Will Scotland be allowed to keep the pound? Where will the Royal Navy base its nuclear submarines, since they are not welcome in Scotland? What will the remainder of the United Kingdom do for a flag if the white cross of St. Andrew on a blue field is ripped from the Union Jack?Read More »
July 14 is Bastille Day, the day on which the people of France celebrate the storming of the Bastille and the revolution that gave the world “liberty, equality and fraternity.” That, at least, is the version we get in the history books. But the French Revolution was a good deal more complex than that. And so I am going to devote today’s post to an episode from the Revolution that most history books either gloss over or omit altogether. It’s something called the War of the Vendée.Read More »
Houston’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society is staging six performances of the Sorcerer at the Cullen Theatre between July 18-20 and July 25-27.
The Sorcerer is not as well known as H.M.S. Pinafore, the Pirates of Penzance, or the other operettas that followed. But without it, we might not have had its successors. Because it was with the Sorcerer that Gilbert and Sullivan hit on the magic formula that would plant their distinctive brand of musical comedy firmly in public favor, in their own time and to the present day.Read More »
The assassinations of Franz Joseph and Sophie set in motion the terrible machinery of great power alliances that had been building for years. A month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia mobilized to defend the Serbs, which brought a declaration of war from Austria-Hungary’s ally, Germany. France and Britain, which were allied with Russia, were quickly drawn into the conflict. War engulfed Europe.Read More »